What it’s like to be Muslim in the U.S.

O.K., maybe I’m obsessing, but the national debate over the cultural center/mosque in NYC sometimes makes me question whether the America I thought I knew actually exists, at least to the degree that I thought it did.

So when I stumble on something that reinforces my sense of this country, I have the urge to share it. Today there are two pieces: One comes from Religion Dispatches and is titled “You’ve never met a Muslim“; the other comes from Foreign Policy, and it bears the provocative headline of “The Talibanization of America“.

Both are worth reading because they get past the white-hot rhetoric and, perhaps more importantly, make one think not just as an American, but as a world citizen.


3 Responses to “What it’s like to be Muslim in the U.S.”

  1. Yes, they make one think as an American. And, as a thinking American, these articles, with their thinly veiled hatred of America and gushing love for Muslims, sickens me as it would any true American.

    And “world citizen?” That’s just a fancy name for traitor.

  2. Welcome jonolan. Thanks for reminding me why I posted these articles and why it’s important to remind people that we are a country of diversity.
    In one stroke, you called yourself a “true American” and implied that somehow I am not. (BTW could you define “true American” for us? As we all know, before you start a discussion, you have to define the terms. I’m sure you forgot that lesson when typing in your comment.)
    Also, you employ the word “traitor.” A bit over the top, don’t you think? The word might scare some folks jonolan, but not me. I don’t scare that easily. So why don’t you define “traitor” in this context, and let’s see if I meet your definition.
    For future reference, if all you can do is spout rhetoric and toss around words like “true American” and “traitor,” don’t bother commenting on my stuff again. I welcome opposing viewpoints. Just make them a little more thoughtful, and less knee-jerk from now on.
    Have a good day.

  3. Patrick Woolsey Says:

    OK, I of course, like both of the articles and still love America. I especially love the “Talibanization” article. I think it is gives a great handle on our American scene.

    Trip, I am a bit undecided whether to think of Jonolan’s comments as somehow a form of irony or legitimately an honest to God opinion since the rhetoric is so over the top. If it is supposed to be ironic, I think he hit the tone of ignorance right on the head. If not, well, he hit the tone of ignorance right on the head. Either way, he was successful.

    I am not sure what you are being “traitor” to? It assumes that Islam is somehow a betrayal of American values. If you move to “radical Islam” since that might be ‘more defensible’ then does other forms of radicalized religiosity also qualify as a betrayal to an idea of America (at this point, you may need to fill in what idea of America you are working with as well as ‘traitor’). So, at this point, I am sure Jonolan would also be pretty annoyed at the Hutaree militia group just raided in Michigan. So, America at that point would be near synonymous with almost a Rawlsian form of liberal democracy.

    Of course, if we land here, all the critiques that have been made of liberal democracy can be inserted (but not rehearsed here…but I have some great recommendations). At some point, religious folk always are pulled between the poles of ‘give to Caesar’ and ‘no one can serve two masters’. So, you can then debate how you might land in negotiating this terrain. I am sure some discussion of constructing the ‘Other’ might be also a part of the discussion but some point, the discussion becomes unwieldily. I think narrowing it down to how we, as a secular nation, deal with the diversity of religious belonging and how that helps shape our idea of America.

    Anyway, I like the blog so keep it up.

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